12.1 Learning Outcomes:
Recognize the importance of quality management theory, principles, and practices
applied in businesses on national and international levels.
State the importance of standardization and quality standards.
12.2 Action Required: (Read)
The Case of the Missing Reservation
Mark, Donna, and their children, along with another family, traditionally attended Easter
brunch at a large downtown hotel. This year, as in the past, Donna called and made a
reservation about three weeks prior to Easter. Because half the party consisted of small
children, they arrived 20 minutes prior to the 11:30 reservation to ensure being seated
early. When they arrived, however, the hostess said that they did not have a reservation.
She explained that guests sometimes failed to show and that she would probably have a
table available for them before long. Mark and Donna were quite upset and insisted that
they had made a reservation and expected to be seated promptly. The hostess told them,
“I believe that you made a reservation, but I can’t seat you until all the people on the
reservation list are seated. You are welcome to go to the lounge for complimentary coffee
and punch while you wait.” When Mark asked to see the manager, the hostess replied, “I
am the manager,” and turned to other duties. The party was eventually seated at 11:45,
but was not at all happy with the experience.
The next day, Mark wrote a letter to the hotel manager explaining the entire
incident. Mark was in the MBA program at the local university and taking a course on
quality management. In the class, they had just studied issues of customer focus and some
of the approaches used at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, a 1992 and 1999 Baldrige Award
winner. Mark concluded his letter with the statement, “I doubt that we would have
experienced this situation at a hotel that truly believes in quality.” About a week later, he
received the following letter:
We enjoy hearing from our valued guests, but wish you had experienced the level
of service and accommodations that we strive to achieve here at our hotel. Our
restaurant manager received your letter and asked me to respond as Total Quality
Lead. Looking back at our records, we did not show a reservation on the books
for your family. I have addressed your comments with the appropriate department
head so that others will not have to experience the same inconveniences that you
did. Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts with us. We believe in a
philosophy of “continuous improvement,” and it is through feedback such as
yours that we can continue to improve the service to our guests.
12.3 Test your Knowledge (Question):
1. Were the hostess’s actions consistent with a customer-focused quality philosophy?
What might she have done differently?
2. How would you have reacted to the letter that Mark received? Could the Total
Quality Lead have responded differently? What does the fact that the hotel manager
did not personally respond to the customer tell you?
Read case study and answer the questions.
Post your answer in the discussion board using the discussion link below
(Week 12: Interactive Learning Discussion)